ROBERT’S RE­TURN IS BRU­CIE BONUS

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By Roddy Brooks

HULL man­ager Steve Bruce felt Robert Sn­od­grass showed his side what they had been miss­ing af­ter scor­ing the only goal in their third-round win over Brighton.

Sn­od­grass gave Hull the lead in the 40th minute when he scored from the penalty spot to noth up his first goal of the sea­son.

Sn­od­grass had be­gun the sea­son late be­cause of a long-term knee in­jury and was given a rare start by Bruce.The winger re­paid his man­ager with a cool fin­ish from the spot af­ter the penalty was awarded for Lewis Dunk’s trip on Harry Maguire.

Bruce had made changes as both he and op­po­site num­ber Chris Hughton kept one eye on their re­spec­tive chal­lenges for pro­mo­tion from the Sky Bet Cham­pi­onship.

Hull could have added to their lead but both Ryan Tay­lor and Sone Aluko were de­nied by Brighton goal­keeper Niki Maen­paa, who pre­vented his side from suf­fer­ing a heav­ier de­feat.

And the vis­i­tors, who started new sign­ings Liam Ridgewell and Richie Tow­ell, could have snatched an un­de­served equaliser in stop­page time but An­drew Crofts’ shot hit the bar.

Bruce said of Sn­od­grass, who was in­jured at the start of last sea­son: “We’ve seen what we’ve missed. To have the in­jury he has had 18 months ago is a big blow.”

Bruce also said he felt Hull had been rel­e­gated from the Premier League be­cause they had been forced to do with­out play­ers of the qual­ity of Sn­od­grass.

“I’ve said re­peat­edly one of the rea­sons why we are not in the big league is the loss of our big play­ers,” said Bruce.

“We’ve seen Sn­oddy pro­duce a per­for­mance to show us what we’ve missed. A big pat on the back to him and I have to say to my med­i­cal staff as well. It’s been one of th­ese com­pli­cated in­juries. He has been ter­rific.”

Bruce praised his team af­ter mak­ing seven changes to the side which beat QPR last time out.

He said:“The only ones I kept were the back four. I made seven changes and it shows the strength in depth.

“We have had 18 at­tempts on goal to their two. How­ever, they’ve hit the bar in the last minute.

“The only dis­ap­point­ing thing was that fi­nal touch. The per­for­mance war­ranted more goals.”

Bruce will have to wait for an up­date on for­ward Adama Diomande, who suf­fered a groin in­jury dur­ing what was his first start for Hull.

Mean­while, Hughton ad­mit­ted he had gone into the game ex­pect­ing to make changes af­ter tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to give sev­eral play­ers a rest ahead of the Cham­pi­onship game at Rother­ham on Tues­day.

He said:“We knew we were go­ing to make changes. We knew they were go­ing to make changes.

“They were for­tu­nate to be able to make some changes and be able to bring in some Premier League qual­ity. We left be­hind four or five play­ers that had played al­most ev­ery minute of ev­ery game the sea­son.

“I thought that we de­fended very well. We had two clear-cut chances. I thought we had to de­fend very, very well, par­tic­u­larly as the game opened up.

“They had a bit more pace and qual­ity com­pared to what we had.”

Hughton’s side had come into the tie with­out a win in six Cham­pi­onship matches and that led to him shuf­fling his pack.

“I had to look at it as an op­por­tu­nity to rest some,” he added. “Play­ers will come back in and hope­fully they will freshen us up a bit.”

PIC­TURE: Paul Hazel­wood/Pro Sport

SPOT ON: Hull City mid­fielder Robert Sn­od­grass con­verts the win­ning penalty

STAR MAN ISAAC HAY­DEN

Hull

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